South Sudan’s Government Signs Cease-Fire Accord With Rebels
By William Davison
(Bloomberg) — The government and rebels in South Sudan signed a cease-fire to end five weeks of fighting that killed as many as 10,000 people and was described by a senior United Nations official as “a horror.” The warring parties agreed to halt fighting within 24 hours, in an accord signed yesterday by the head of South Sudan’s negotiating team, Nhial Deng Nhial, and rebel-delegation leader Taban Deng Gai in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. The signing was witnessed by officials including Seyoum Mesfin, head of an East African mediation team, and Chinese Ambassador to the African Union Xie Xiaoyan.
The signing is a “significant step forward,” Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom said at the ceremony. “The two sides need to advance the implementation of these agreements through dialogue and reconciliation, and walk their talk for the sake of their people,” Violence erupted in the world’s newest nation on Dec. 15 after President Salva Kiir accused former Vice President Riek Machar, whom he fired in July, of trying to stage a coup, a charge Machar denies. The dispute escalated into clashes between
members of Kiir’s ethnic Dinka community and Machar’s Nuer group
The death toll from the fighting is approaching 10,000, according to the International Crisis Group, while the UN says half a million people have been forced to flee their homes, almost 84,000 of them to nei countries. Read more